Yu Pun-hoi, the founder of Hong Kong online publication HK01, as well as two companies linked to him are being sued by a bank for an outstanding sum of HK$400 million.

Yu Pun-hoi
Yu Pun-hoi (left). File photo: Taoyuan City Government.

China Merchants Bank filed three writs in the High Court on Tuesday to sue Yu, Nan Hai Corporation Limited and True Vision Limited.

True Vision, a subsidiary of Nan Hai Corporation, was accused of failing to repay its liabilities in time on February 21.

The bank said it had lent a total of US$150 million (HK$1.18 billion) to True Vision in February 2018. City Entertainment Corporation Limited, which was owned by the borrower, was put up as collateral for the loan with Nan Hai Corporation and Yu as guarantors.

The bank said it had sent a written demand to True Vision Limited on April 14 for immediate repayment but nothing was forthcoming.

Yu is the chairperson and largest shareholder of Nan Hai Corporation. The Hong Kong-listed Chinese corporation is also the parent company of HK01, a local online media outlet.

China Merchants Bank. File photo: Windmemories, via Wikicommons.

As of June 13, the bank said True Vision was liable for a sum of US$53.4 million (HK$419 million). It also required the defendant to cover the handling fees and further pending interest payments until full repayment is made.

Financial difficulties

On June 2, another bank CCB International Overseas sued Pippen Limited, a company fully owned by Yu, for an outstanding sum of more than HK$400 million. Yu and another firm were also sued as they were guarantors of the loans.

The trading of Nan Hai Corporation’s shares has been halted since April 1 as it has not released its full-year financial results.

The listed company in a profit warning on March 18 said it expected to have lost HK$3 billion to HK$3.4 billion last year, citing the flagging property market and the recurrence of Covid-19 in some parts of China.

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Peter Lee is a reporter for HKFP. He was previously a freelance journalist at Initium, covering political and court news. He holds a Global Communication bachelor degree from CUHK.